In a year when California’s budget writers have borrowed almost $2 billion of local governments’ property tax revenues, and ordered a permanent shift of more than $2 billion in redevelopment funds, their advocates have prepared a ballot measure that would bar such actions in the future.
The League of California Cities filed an initiative Tuesday with the attorney general’s office for a measure that would amend the state constitution to prevent what the group describes as “revenue raids” on property tax and redevelopment funds.
The proposed measure would also prevent the state from redirecting funds from taxes on gasoline that are currently dedicated to public transit and local transportation projects.
“These raids are having a significant and negative impact on the vital services that all Californians rely upon, including layoffs of local police and firefighters, delayed 911 emergency response times, and cuts to health care, parks, libraries, public transit and road safety maintenance, and community improvements,” Chris McKenzie, executive director of the LCC, said in a statement. “We’re looking into qualifying a measure for November 2010 that would close these loopholes in current law and protect funding for these vital services once and for all.”
The attorney general’s office will create official title and summary language for the measure by late November or early December, at which point backers of the measure would have to mount a campaign to collect about one million signatures from voters to qualify the measure for the ballot.